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Cancer Lett. 2012 Nov 28;324(2):179-85. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2012.05.013. Epub 2012 May 19.

Imaging-guided curative surgical resection of pancreatic cancer in a xenograft mouse model.

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The Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths in North America. The poor survival statistics are due to the fact that there are no reliable tests for early diagnosis and no effective therapies once metastasis has occurred. Surgical resection is the only curative treatment for pancreatic cancer; however, only less than 15% of the patients are eligible for surgery at diagnosis. New therapies are urgently needed for this malignant disease. And combinational therapy including surgery, chemotherapy and molecular targeted therapy may further improve the efficacy of individual therapies. However, a reliable mouse model which mimics the human disease and can be used for testing the surgical treatment and surgery-based combinational therapy is not available. In this study, we have established a mouse model for curative surgical resection of pancreatic cancer. Human pancreatic cancer cells were used to create orthotopic xenografts in nude mice, distal pancreatectomy was performed using imaging-guided technology to remove the pancreatic tumors, and sham surgery was performed in the control group. All mice survived the operation and no complication was observed. Surgical resection at early stage improved the survival rate and quality of life of the mice compared with the sham surgery and surgical resection at the late stage. If combined with other therapies such as chemotherapy and molecular targeted therapy, it could further improve the outcome of pancreatic cancer. This mouse model is a useful tool to study the surgical therapy and the tumor recurrence of pancreatic cancer, and could potentially impact the therapeutic choices for this deadly disease.

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